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Pure Lansing : LEAP’s Elevate Program, An All-Black Business Accelerator Designed to Scale Small Businesses, Welcomes Third Cohort

Pure Lansing
April 17, 2024 6:00 PM

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Elevate gives entrepreneurs the chance to accelerate the revenue, profitability and prominence of their businesses

LANSING, Mich. (Apr. 17, 2024) — The Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP) has selected eight entrepreneurs to participate in the third cohort of its Elevate program—the Lansing Region’s first all-Black business accelerator designed to empower, refine, enhance and scale small businesses. After a careful review process, the final eight entrepreneurs selected for this program are: 

·         Shayna Allen – TämBwoy Sports Massage

·         Felineece Foreman – All About U Salon Suites Salon Spa Wellness LLC

·         Melissa Terry – Lotus Beauty Lounge

·         Justin Christian – Top Shelf Party Rental LLC

·         Asia Hudson – Paint with Monet

·         Britt Houze – BHouze Originals

·         LaTonya Demps – Collective Wellness Counseling and Consulting

·         Bryana Clover – Clover Joy Collective 

Elevate is one of many entrepreneurial support programs funded by the Small Business Support Hubs of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). LEAP was recently designated as the Lansing Region’s Small Business Support Hub by the MEDC. LEAP’s support of Elevate is part of its initiative to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties. 

Elevate will give entrepreneurs the chance to accelerate the revenue, profitability and prominence of their businesses. In addition to these target measurables, the accelerator program will use individualized business assessment, customized workplan development and one-on-one technical assistance to elevate these businesses over the six-month program. 

LAFCU-3-Nikki Thompson Frazier“I appreciate the work LEAP is doing to grow businesses, specifically Black businesses, in the Lansing Region,” said Nikki Thompson Frazier, Elevate Cohort One participant and owner of Sweet Encounter Bakery & Café (left). “Through Elevate, my business gained more exposure and increased name recognition in the Lansing area, which is priceless.” 

New program features this year include structured community hours, networking with local Black executives, and targeted media campaigns — all meant to address the statistical evidence that Black entrepreneurs have less access to management structure and upward career trajectory than any other demographic.  

profile_photo-260x260 (2)“Black business ownership is a proven path to wealth and job creation that stimulates the U.S. economy. Deep-rooted systemic challenges still limit economic growth and prosperity for Black people, ultimately preventing generational wealth,” said Tony Willis, chief equity development officer at LEAP (left). LEAP has an opportunity to address these issues and facilitate change with diverse programming. 

Also acknowledging the widest discrepancy in wealth equity and distribution is within Black communities (McKinsey, 2019), the Elevate program will continue to combat inequality by providing Black business owners with resources and programming that has historically been hard to access due to systemic barriers.  

LEAP has a strong history of engaging, working with and assisting entrepreneurs and small business startups from across the entire Clinton, Eaton and Ingham County region through programs like the new Small Business TREK HUB, Business and Local Accelerator Funds, work at the Lansing Regional SmartZone (LRSZ), along with our equity focused programs such as Elevate, One and All and LevelUp. 

To meet the entrepreneurs in this cohort, visit purelansing.com/elevate/cohort. 


About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all — working every day to grow, retain and attract business to the Lansing, Michigan, region.

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Pure Lansing, hosted by Bob Trezise, focuses on positive news and events coming out of the Greater Lansing area.

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